Economic Diversification in the Context of a Constitutional Right to Happiness: Implications for Law and Policy Initiatives

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Akintayo, A.E
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UNILAG Journal of Humanities
Nigeria’s oil resources have been more of a curse than a blessing. This has given rise to the need and current efforts to diversify the Nigerian economic base from over reliance on oil for a more stable and sustainable economic development. Diversification of the Nigerian economy is however a process that cannot but take place in contexts and one of the requisite contexts is the constitutional and the legal one. Nigeria’s constitutional and legal frameworks and economic initiatives and policies, however, present a contrast and a contradiction. While the economic policies and initiatives are neo-liberal in form and character, they are underpinned by a constitution with a social democratic orientation. One of the core norms of Nigeria’s social democratic oriented constitution is the constitutional right to happiness. This article highlights the contradiction inherent in Nigeria’s social democratic oriented constitutional framework vis-a-vis the economic policies and initiatives. It also interrogates the implications of a right to happiness as a core value of Nigeria’s social democratic oriented constitution on the economic diversification laws and policies of Nigeria. The clear articulation of the constitutional context(s) within which the diversification of the Nigerian economy is to take place has become important at this time because of the apparent disconnect between the vision of the Nigerian Constitution and the aims and objectives of current economic reforms. It is hoped that a clear exposition of the requisite constitutional context(s) will bring about the much needed focus and direction in the formulation and execution of people oriented and people focussed policies and laws for sustainable economic reforms.
Economic Diversification, Right to happiness, Sustainable development
(2017) 5 (1) UNILAG Journal of Humanities pp 96 – 111